Jorge Semprun was twenty years old - already an accomplished philosopher and poet - when arrested by Nazis for activites in the French Resistance. He was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Literature or Life, a bestseller in France, is a deeply personal account not only of Semprun's time at Buchenwald, but also of the years before and after, of his painful attempts to write this book...created out of obsessions that returned him again and again like themes in a nightmarish rhapsody.His long reverie on life-as-death, now translated with the mesmerizing power of fiction. It is a profound contribution to Holocaust literature.
? Semprun was awarded the Jerusalem prize at the 1997 Jerusalem International Book Fair.
? Semprun's first novel, The Long Voyage, won Europe's prestigious Formentor Prize.
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Jorge Semprun's riveting book Literature or Life has been 50 years in the making. Half essay, half memoir, the book details the hellish two years the author spent in a German concentration camp during World War II. The facts are simple: while still a teenager, Semprun joined the French Resistance. He was captured in 1943 and sent to Buchenwald. There he remained until the camp was liberated in April of 1945. Those two years shaped all the ones that have followed, as Semprun has struggled to express a living death, an "experience of Radical Evil."
Literature or Life is more than just a memoir of life in the camps and afterward. It is a meditation on the power of language to process experience. Through his novels, screenplays, and poetry, Semprun has revisited the central events of his life; now, so many years later, he looks back again, this time without the filter of fiction, to reexamine his life, his writing, and his memory of death.About the Author:
Jorge Semprun, novelist and playwright, was Spain?s Minister of Culture from 1988?1991. He lives in Paris.
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